Farm Hounds dog treats make dogs and the planet happier and healthier.
Farm Hounds dog treats are a little out of the ordinary compared to the typical treat you’ll find on the grocery store shelves or from an animal supply store, which is always a pleasant surprise if you’re concerned about your pet’s health and nutrition needs.
This Atlanta-based line of treats, which includes jerky, gizzards, organs, all-natural chews and subscription boxes, has been a long time in the making, evolving out of several previous canine-centered businesses.
“We started our first small business in the dog care industry owning and operating a large dog boarding and daycare facility in Atlanta,” cofounder Stephen Calsbeek said in an email to Dog O’Day.
“We began offering a curated selection of foods, treats and accessories for our customers based on our own personal research of what we would want for our own pack and they loved it! From daycare and boarding, our mission evolved into the retail space, where we currently own and operate dog-centered pet retail stores called The Whole Dog Market.”
They prioritize working with a small handful of family-run farms throughout the South, including Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farms. These farm partners began with the zero-waste cattle ranch White Oak Pastures.
“They taught us that farms can go beyond sustainable, which is a neutral approach to land management. A regenerative approach actually taps into the ability for animals to heal the land and bring life back to the soil. By allowing animals to instinctually work the land together, the soil sequesters more carbon, holds more water, and grows healthier grasses. In turn, benefiting the animals, the environment, the farmer, and the consumer.” Calsbeek said.
“With customers wanting healthier cleaner products for their pets, we were motivated and found joy in working with family farms.”
Because this style of integrated sustainable farming is so radically different than the traditional assembly-line model, not all of Farm Hounds’ dog treats and rawhide chews are available on a 24/7 basis, which can bring its own challenges to the process, as Calsbeek explains.
“When you go to the grocery store, you expect to have access to every product, on every day of the year. Our working farms partners, unlike industrial farms, don’t have our products available year round. This is because they’ve built their agricultural system around what is best for each species. We continue to add farm partners to help make products more readily available, but our customers have learned (and appreciate) that we work WITH the farmer, and not to push a farm into making more product available when it doesn’t work for the system as a whole.”
What are some of the benefits for the owners and pets who purchase these products?
“Unlike any other treat line, customers get complete transparency by knowing exactly where each product was sourced,” Calsbeek said.
This direct sourcing model ensures that only 100 percent beef, poultry and pork chews are made, which are all entirely free of antibiotics, chemicals, hormones or pesticides. Once Farm Hounds receives the product, they merely dehydrate it, without using any excess salt, sugar, grain, glycerin or filler of any kind.
To learn more on how regenerative farming works, this is explained in Salatin’s books, as well as the nonfiction works of novelist/poet Wendell Berry.
To learn more about Farm Hounds or order some snacks for your own dog, see their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram at Farm Hounds Treats, and Twitter at the handle @FarmHounds.
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